For some of us, there's very little that's as exciting hearing a decent new tune for the first time, and this week we've got some proper ammunition. There's a return from Halestom, there's Weezer resuscitating an AOR classic, and there's a band with perhaps the smallest Facebook following we've ever encountered.
But first! Last week we asked to to choose your favourites. And you did. You came out in your droves, and you voted hard, and we would like to say thank you.
Here are the results, in reverse order.
So congratulations to Blame Candy. And don't forget to vote in this week's poll. But first, here's our winners again, with their hit single Pathetic.
Halestorm - Uncomfortable
Halestorm are back, and they're back with a song that suggests they've been paying attention to the (unfair) criticism lobbed in the direction of their Into The Wild Life album, and the melodies contained therein. For Unfortunate is a beast of a song, rattling along at a thousand beats per minute with a sign that says "No compromises! Fuck you!" draped around its neck. As statements of intent go, it's up there. Welcome back Lzzy, even though you've never really been away.
Weezer - Africa
Ahh, the internet. Just as it's capable of makings stars out of idiots and idiots out of stars, it's also capable of doing great things. Like coercing Weezer into covering Toto's meme-tastic classic Africa. Other bands, take note: maybe you too could benefit from reinventing the AOR canon instead of releasing new music of your own.
Here Lies Man - Taking The Blame
The "Black Sabbath meets Fela Kuti" line you read in every single piece about Here Lies Man is getting a bit tired now. And, let's face it: they're much more like [Zambian band] Witch versus [Nigerian funk pioneer] William Onyeabor... but that’s a much tougher sell. Either way, it doesn't stop Taking The Blame from being a typically trippy mess of rhythms plucked straight from the Tony Allen school of African drumming, aligned with keyboards that sound like they've been piped in from another dimension. Delirious, off-kilter weirdness.
Mountains Of Madness - Unleash The Beast
Talking of stoners, here's something from the Doomed And Stoned label. It's Mountains Of Madness, who are from Tasmania, which is that island off the coast Australia that isn't New Zealand. Unleash The Beast pumps merrily along with its fist in the air, rhymes "eyes" with "thighs", and is a bit like Accept's Balls To The Wall combined with something nasty mixed with the kind of scamp ferocity that's unique to the best Aussie bands. Unleash the beast! Unleash the beast! Etc.
Junkyard Drive - Sweet Little Dreamer
Danish rockers Junkyard Drive sound like they know what they're doing, and Sweet Little Dreamer (taken from upcoming album Black Coffee) combines arena-shaped melodies with balls much bigger than average. It soars, it swaggers, and it's really quite good, even if they have a frontman who sings the word "Sky" in the manner of Axl Rose (i.e. as if it's got three syllables). There's also a hint of Slash about the guitar solo.
Elevation Falls - Armies Rising
There's a theory about videos on the internet. It says that peoples' attention spans are so short that retention rates (i.e. the percentage of people who keep watching) nosedive if nothing happens after five seconds. This is unfortunate for Irish band Elevation Falls, because nothing happens in their video until the 10-second mark, which means you've already moved on to the Pure Assassins video, below.
And that's a pity, because once it gets going Armies Rising rattles along with more than a hint of Thin Lizzy in the guitars, with a singer who sounds a little like Geddy Lee impersonating Ann Wilson. It's also a pity because the song is about "the breakdown of society and the resulting revolution having been pushed over the edge by the craziness!" And that's sounds like it's too good to miss.
Pure Assassins - Ever Get The Feeling
In a world full of bands who sound a bit like Queens Of The Stone Age, Pure Assassins mark themselves out from the other sound-a-bit-alikes by not relying purely on repetition and riff. For Ever Get The Feeling is an actual song, with melody and decent singing and a chorus that'll stick in your memory like the feet of a gecko clinging to a hot stone wall. They're from Bournemouth.
Koyo - Jettisoned
Koyo are the band on everyone's lips, at least if you listen to the lips of our caped colleagues at Prog Magazine. And there's no doubt that they've arrived fully-formed, with the kind of sonic sophistication that usually only comes after years of practice. Keyboard wibble and wobble, there are unexpected whistles and buzzes, and it all sounds very slick, like Straitjacket Fits playing Radiohead. Is this what progressive rock sounds like in the age of Coldplay? Perhaps it is.